Thursday, September 01, 2011

Twins Management Isn't Stupid

As Dilbert pointed out in a recent cartoon when a co-worker told him his memo was incomprehensible, "Maybe the problem is your reading comprehension." The current media narrative that the Twins management is a bunch of incompetent boobs because they make moves the media source don't understand leads me to the same response.

I did an article on the criticism of the Twins for not immediately sticking players with minor injuries on the DL. Somehow the obvious answer, you would rather have Joe Mauer miss five days than 15, didn't occur to people. But now we have another similar case.

Take the decision to ask Joe Nathan to sign away his 10-5 rights. They made this request at the last minute. The trade deadline was 24 hours away and Nathan had to waive his rights 24 hours before the trade was made. So 24 hours before the trade deadline, the Twins asked and Nathan said no.

This has brought a waive of criticism from people. Apparently Nathan had cleared waivers several days ago. Why would they wait until the last minute? They must be incompetent idiots.

Now, lets look at the question with the assumption there is a reasonable explanation. The first clue is that Nathan passed through waivers without anyone claiming him. The reason for that is likely that no one was willing to pay both the remainder of his salary and the $2 million buyout required if they did not pick up his option for next year. In other words, Nathan was too expensive.

The second clue is Nathan's explanation that he and his agent were hoping to use their waiver of his 10/5 rights as leverage to get the team to pick up his option and guarantee him a $12.5 million salary next year. Obviously if a team was unwilling to claim him on waivers because it didn't want to pay the buyout, they weren't going to go for that.

So the Twins came up to the last 24 hours with no one interested. At least, not unless they were willing to pick up part of the cost. They could either keep Nathan for the rest of the season or try to get someone to take on part of the cost of his salary and buyout.

But the only way they could get someone to take on some of Nathan's salary is if Nathan was willing to waive his rights to go to a contender. So they checked in to see if he was. If he had been, they still had 24 hours left to find someone willing to pay part of Nathan's remaining costs. Since he wasn't willing to waive his rights, he will remain a Twin.

Why wait until the last minute? The obvious answer is that Nathan wasn't going to abandon his 10/5 rights until he was sure he wasn't giving up his "leverage".

Here is my favorite comment of the week from a local Twins blogger on this subject:

"Of course it's possible that we don't have all the information, and that there's something we're missing which would alter my conclusion. It would be nice, actually, if that were the case."

Let me suggest, that if you don't have all the information, you at least try to consider the information you do have from several perspectives. Usually there is a pretty obvious explanation. You may not agree with it, but Twins management isn't stupid.

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